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lono

What I am reading

the weird and highly subjective way I see it

Currently reading

Der Utopische Staat
Klaus Joachim Heinisch, Tommaso Campanella, Thomas More
Progress: 215/292 pages
Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page
Matt Kish
Progress: 400/570 pages
Fifty Egg Timer Short Stories
Richard Bunning

A symphony of cities

Die unsichtbaren Städte - Italo Calvino, Heinz Riedt

Italo Calvino is always worth reading in my opinion and so is Invisible Cities. The minimalistic story which forms the framework consists of dialogues between Marco Polo and the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan during which Marco Polo describes the various cities within the Khan’s kingdom. But by doing so, he is actually creating them, only to tear them down again soon afterwards.

 

Every city (there are 55 of them) is an allegorical image of a certain aspect of our own way of life and their consequences. The further the story goes, the darker and more cheerless the cities become. Elegance, gracefulness, symmetry and even sublimity make way for endless mountains of garbage, violence and ruthlessness, up to the point when people are unable to determine whether they are still living or already dead, because the dead seem to be more alive than the living.

 

Oddly enough, Inivisible Cities is also about the impossibility of describing any city, because no description can ever be like the actual city, maybe in the end all the cities are just like Venice and basically the same anyway.


Invisible Cities was definitely an unexpected, experimental read, even quite confusing at the beginning, but it got better and better. Even though you get descriptions of 55 different cities in 200 pages and it is impossible to distinguish them all, there are a lot of beautiful metaphorical images which I think will stick with me for a long time.